20.09.2014 - 04.10.2014 29 °C
Sitting down to write this entry is just another item on my increasingly long procrastinating-from-packing-up-life-again list- so far this morning I've finished Anna Karenina (again), downloaded the Russian version for my kindle (over-ambitious), and then downloaded a Russian dictionary for said kindle mere minutes later (much more realistic), made a half-hearted attempt at learning some Nepali and then a full-hearted attempt at caffeinating myself to previously unheard of levels in hope that that will inspire some productivity. Rather, I sorted through all my Cairns photos and am now making you all, dear readers, accomplices to my procrastination mission by sharing them with you!
My last two weeks in Cairns flew by, with my wonderful parentals paying a much appreciated visit and work winding up for the season. We trekked through misty rainforests, lazed on palm tree-studded beaches, chased glimmering tropical fish out on the reef, and just generally enjoyed spending time together. We spent our first week based in Yorkeys, adventuring off on day trips. On our first afternoon I dragged my flip-flop wearing Dad and more appropriately shod Mum up to Stoney Creek- aptly named, this creek winds its way down a rocky gorge, stopping to create refreshing (read: bloody cold) swimming pools which are visited by amazing electric blue dragonflies and surprisingly no people.
Continuing our rainforest-exploration theme, we headed up to Mossman Gorge the next day- probably one of the most touristed sites around the Cairns/Port Douglas area. Despite a hugely packed car park, once we were out on the trails we didn't see too many people- just amazing fig trees, with their intricate roots, and the clearest creeks I think I've ever seen.
Of course the most touristed site of all is the Great Barrier Reef- and while we are a tough lot to satisfy (I wanted to dive independently, Dad wanted to adventure snorkel and Mum wanted a How-To-Snorkel sesh) we managed to find a boat which covered all options and spent the day frolicking- my highlight was certainly following a sleepy white tip reef shark around and heading through an unbelievable chasm (following Dory's advice- swim through, not over!). By this time we had discovered the $15/45 minute Chinese massages at the night market so headed straight there off the boat- I'll admit despite my masseuse using her elbows I still nearly fell asleep after three dives in a day. We spent an afternoon or two exploring Cairns itself- my parents marvelled at the constant throng of people and partygoers- made even more pronounced by the sudden infiltration of every football and netball club in the country on their trip away.
Small touch of Melbtown outside a popular and tasty coffee haunt:
Walking along the Marina:
The Tanks Arts Centre: I saw a myriad of amazing bands here, from Russian-Hungarian Gypsy folk to the Beautiful Girls on my last night.
Once you've crossed the Daintree River, the landscape shifts to even more green, even more lush, and even more oh-wow-this-creek-is-certainly-hiding-crocodiles. The distance from that ferry crossing to Cape Trib itself is quite small, so we enjoyed being able to stop and look at everything- a distinct change from normal touristing in Aus- 'Ok, so where's our next stop... Oh I see. 300 km away.'
The weather was quite windy and a bit stormy looking most of time, but we lucked out and had no rain and sunny, beachy afternoons. Our one goal for the trip was to spot a Cassowary- with only about 1000 left in the wild, our chances weren't great but while driving down to Cow Bay Mum let out a strangled cry that Dad and I eventually figured out was 'Cassowary!' Dad threw the van into reverse and sure enough, down a dirt side road there it was- strutting across the road like nobody's business. This sighting finally put to rest Mum's earlier assertion that Cassowaries were the size of chickens (?!) but also shot down mine that they stood a solid 2m high. Sadly no pictures were taken. Instead I offer this documented sighting of a gorgeous goanna- what a babe.
We lucked out with beach side camping- though with school holidays in full swing there were plenty of children running around to make sure we were up bright and early every day.
Ellis Beach: (made all the more amazing by the fact that the small cafe across the road had vegan cupcakes. And also the barista's latte art was Jimmy Hendrix's face. Yup.)
And with that my time in Cairns was done! A last kitesurf, visit from a dear university friend, another trip out to Fitzroy, the amazing music of the Beautiful Girls and incredibly trashy music of Cairns's biggest backpacker club rounded out my last day, and then it was the old airport shuffle to end up back in Vic. The next time I write will probably be somewhere in noisy, colourful, Kathmandu- and all I'll be able to talk about is mountains. Consider yourselves warned.
Love and peace,